Objective


Share stories of women that are affected by ISIS and enable them to give their opinions on a variety of gender narratives.

In January 2015 ISIS released a ‘manifesto’ declaring that the role of women in their caliphate was “in the house with her husband and children,” with education limited to the ages of 7 to 15. ISIS’s successful attempts at monopolizing information online pointed to serious gaps in evidence about the opinions and experiences of impacted citizens, particularly surrounding gender roles and the lives of women.


Approach


The Digital Public Square project team designed one of the largest anonymous digital surveys of its kind to determine what Arabic-speaking, Middle Eastern women felt about issues related to their mobility, education, and employment. Working with Small Media, we then visualized and made interactive these findings to create additional opportunities for dialogue.

To further amplify the marginalized voices of Arabic speaking women online, we assembled an all-female film crew to share untold stories from women who have escaped the conflict in Syria. The documentary series features stories about the resilience, leadership, and independence of Syrian women, highlighting everyday heroines and challenging the perceptions of women and girls across the region.



Results


The full, Middle East-wide survey gathered over 65,00 total responses, elevating the voices of women marginalized by ISIS and revealing alternative narratives. The responses contradicted ISIS views on the role of women and presented a more holistic picture of the diversity of women's views throughout the region.

The documentaries showed the brutal realities of life under ISIS rule, and opened a conversation among women about a world after ISIS. Less than 4 weeks after launch, the platform received over 500,000 site visits, direct participation from nearly 100,000 individuals in 16 countries, and over 93 million impressions reaching over 18 million people who have taken over 1.3 million actions, generated over 230,000 video views on Facebook, 62,100 Facebook page-likes, and over 160,000 post likes.

The results of a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) of Aswat.me content in five MENA countries demonstrated a significant increase in the disapproval of ISIS after exposure of Aswat.me content. In some cases, the video content moved 25% of those not disapproving of ISIS into disapproval.